Regulation of intracellular potassium (K(+) ) concentration plays a key role in metabolic processes. So far, only a few intracellular K(+) sensors have been developed. The highly selective fluorescent K(+) sensor KS6 for monitoring K(+) ion dynamics in mitochondria was produced by coupling triphenylphosphonium, borondipyrromethene (BODIPY), and triazacryptand (TAC). KS6 shows a good response to K(+) in the range 30-500 mM, a large dynamic range (Fmax /F0 ≈130), high brightness (ϕf =14.4 % at 150 mM of K(+) ), and insensitivity to both pH in the range 5.5-9.0 and other metal ions under physiological conditions. Colocalization tests of KS6 with MitoTracker Green confirmed its predominant localization in the mitochondria of HeLa and U87MG cells. K(+) efflux/influx in the mitochondria was observed upon stimulation with ionophores, nigericin, or ionomycin. KS6 is thus a highly selective semiquantitative K(+) sensor suitable for the study of mitochondrial potassium flux in live cells.
Keywords: BODIPY; fluorescent probes; ion channels; mitochondria; potassium.
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